Tuesday, April 11, 2017

It has been ten years since Michael died.
When I was younger, adults would say to me, "time flies," and "the older you get, the faster it goes." I would shrug my shoulders and move onto something else, as only an arrogant, ignorant youth can.
But now I know.
Sometimes it feels as if I have lived an entire lifetime in the past decade. In some ways I have, I guess. I fell in love again. I got married on a big bridge overlooking an even bigger city. I have two little boys who call me "Mama."
I debated writing anything about this day. Mostly, I'm a pretty private person. There are new friends and acquaintances on this page who never knew Michael, who have no clue that I was married before. But I do feel like it is important to remember. Sometimes, I say his name out loud, just to remind myself that he existed. That he loved and was loved. That he drove around in an old yellow Chevy pickup, and he wrote songs about Washington wheat fields and green bananas, and me. That he felt more at home in the woods or on a mountain than any house he ever lived in. That he snorkled off the coast of Cuba, and ate pizza in Italy and walked cobbled streets in San Juan and danced under the moonlight in a castle on a hill in Lisbon.
That he lived.
This morning, I went to Radnor Lake. I climbed the same trail I've climbed for nearly 20 years, to the spot where he proposed to me.
His favorite color was purple. As I was climbing, a woman was coming down the path. She stopped me and asked, "have you seen the purple flowers?" I could barely get out the word, "no."
"They are just around the corner," she said. And off she went. I walked a little further, and just as she said, the hillside was alive with purple wildflowers.
A little further on, a weathered, old mountain man was coming down the path. Tied around his neck was a bright purple bandana. He smiled at me.
I got to the top, and sat at bench #37, the one with his name on it. The spot where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Where he put the ring on the wrong finger because he was so nervous.
I sat there for awhile. I started to think that I would leave a little symbol on the bench for his sister, who I knew would be making the hike later that day. A heart, perhaps. As I thought this, a woman walked by. She turned and said to me, "have you seen the Heart Tree?"
"No," I said.
She said there is a Radnor tradition of people finding heart shaped rocks and placing them around a large tree near the bottom of the path.
"I try to find one every time I come here, but I never have any luck," she said. "Maybe you will find one."
I already knew I would.
I left my heart-shaped rock under that tree on the way down the path. For Michael. For me. For my incredible husband, Nate, and our beautiful children, Maddux and Everett.
Grief is messy. Sloppy. It does not stay within the lines. But I always remember what Nate said when we were dating: "It is part of your story. It is part of who you are. And I love who you are."
We remember you, Michael.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Road Trip: Columbia, Tennessee

There are a million and one reasons why people stop doing the things they love, the most well-known culprit of course being a lack of time. A lot has happened since I last wrote on this blog. Nate and I had another baby, Everett, born in December 2013. My band, The Carmonas has been busy writing, recording and performing. And I've just been living life; trying to balance raising two small boys, being a good wife and traveling and performing with the band. But I have missed writing and documenting the little snippets of life that tend to get forgotten as we get caught up in the whirlwind of our day to day existence. With the encouragement of my sweet sister-in-law, Megan, I hope to revive this little spot on the www, so I figured I'd start with one of the things I love the most: travel. 

As the band has gotten busier, and our lives in general have become more hectic, Nate and I have fallen out of the habit of taking little road trips to explore the space around us. We decided to remedy that a few weeks ago by spending an afternoon in the quaint little town of Columbia, Tennessee, about a 40 minute drive from our house. Nate had done a story awhile back about the revival of vinyl records, and highlighted Variety Records on the Columbia town square, and he really wanted to take me there.

Columbia seems to be experiencing a bit of a resurgence in their downtown area. According to our conversations with some of the locals, a lot of great small businesses have been setting up shop, and as nearby Franklin expands, more and more people are venturing out to explore. 

We had a bit of snowy and icy weather that kept us homebound for several days, so it was great to get out with the kids and stretch our legs a bit with the sun on our faces.

Ahh, those little legs kill me!

 I am not kidding when I say to run to Pie Sensations in Columbia and get a pie. Any pie. We took home the chocolate cream and it was gone in less than a day. So good!

Yummy coffee and homemade muffin at Muletown.

The sweet shop owner at Pie Sensations gave Maddux a carmel, so naturally he was in Heaven.

Those legs again!

I loved the original structures and details surrounding the town square.

Amazing staircase in the Old Curiosity Book Shop.

Maddux was enthralled by the desk made of books!

Making wishes.

Nate let the boys run around outside while I went into the Accents & Antiques shop to browse. 

It's nearly impossible to get a shot of these two facing the camera!

Friday, September 5, 2014

An Ode To Three

Three is the bridge connecting babyhood to boyhood.
Three is the color orange. It's your favorite, you say, and you demonstrate this by pulling your orange gym shorts out of the dresser drawer. You've been known to take them out of the dirty laundry so that you can wear them again for the second, or third day in a row. I try to hide them sometimes, but you always manage to find them. Those shorts really are too small for you now, but I don't have the heart to tell you.
Three is a chipped front tooth. You fell hard on the concrete somewhere in the mountains on the North Carolina border. It bled like crazy and scared me to death, but you were tough and barely cried. It made me sad, at first, to see that little broken tooth, but now I think it just adds character to your already irresistible smile.
Three is becoming a big brother. You kind of ignored him at first, but now you desperately want to play and wrestle, but he is not quite ready for that. It leads to some tears on his part, and some scolding on my part, but then I remember my brothers, and growing up with seven of them, and I sigh and just know I'm in for it.
Three is realizing that your Dad is your best friend. Watching you two together has been one of the most amazing things in my life. Two peas in a pod, cut from the same cloth, etc., etc. The analogies don't quite do it justice.
Three is a big, red fire truck bed. You demand that we sit on the mattress with you so we can go put out fires and rescue Goldwyn, your stuffed dog, from the perils of the flames. You wake us up most mornings from that bed, calling out, "Mama, Dada, big day!" It seems that when you're three, everyday is a big day.
Three is saying goodbye to naps. Much to my dismay.
Three is knowing what you like, and don't like. Most of the time. You love the Octonauts and The Wild Kratts. You love ice cream, swimming, ketchup and seahorses. And your teepee. You don't particularly care for cheese. Sometimes you like apples, sometimes you don't.
Three is a sweet, friendly boy who says "hello" to strangers in the grocery store and holds the door open for people, even if it makes us 10 minutes late to wherever it is that we are going. You say "excuse me" when we need to squeeze by someone in the aisle, and you run up to other kids on the playground and introduce yourself, although you often don't ask for their names in return.
Three is a dance party in the living room. We listen to Animal Collective or the Red Hot Chili Peppers or some cool new band your dad wants us to hear. We run around like crazy people and you show us your "dance skills." If we forget to close the curtains, we joke that our neighbors must think we are insane, but we kind of don't care if they do.
Three is full of energy. You've created a track around the coffee table and I swear sometimes you must run five miles a day. I watch you sprint cross the living room as fast as you can, wild curls flying through the air, sweat dripping down your neck. Yes, that is not an exaggeration. You move so much, even in our 69 degree house, that you sweat.
Three is being a big boy and insisting on doing everything on your own, but still needing help for so many things.
Three is asking to snuggle, but then wiping away my kisses.
Three is a growing vocabulary. Hearing you say "pterodactyl" has got to be one of the cutest things I've ever heard. But you also still call your blanket a "beat." And I love it.
Three was so much more than I could ever write here. Three was amazing. Four is going to be even better.
Happy Birthday, sweet, amazing child of mine.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I Have Some Talented Friends

Living in Nashville, it can pretty much go without saying that I am surrounded by ridiculously talented people on a daily basis. The amount of musicians, writers, artists, designers and the like that call Nashville home is one of the reasons why I love this city so much. There is newfound inspiration around every corner, and I love how creative people tend to form a community, supporting and encouraging each other.

I also have a pretty large group of family and friends all across the country who have begun letting their creative sides out to play, opening their own businesses and following that little voice inside their heads that has been telling them to try something new or to take a risk.

So, I'd like to showcase a few of these friends and family members here today, with more to come! Check out their sites, and please patronize their businesses. We need to support these amazing entrepreneurs!

Muck A Duck

Muck A Duck is made up of my sister-in-law Janis and her best friend/ practically her sister, Megan. These sassy ladies hand make everything from pillows to jewelry to wall art in their hometown of Valparaiso, Indiana. Their creations are fun, funky and on trend, yet uniquely their own. I especially love the names they come up with to name their designs. I recently bought a red jeweled bracelet that was perfect for wearing on stage.

Here is their Etsy page.

You can also find them on Facebook and "Like" their page.

The Remodeled Life

The Remodeled Life is a popular blog run by my sister-in-law Megan in North Carolina. She writes about her adorable little family, the youth group that she and my brother minister to and mostly, the amazing DIY remodeling projects that she does around her home. And she also designs jewelry. Geez. Overachiever, maybe? I absolutely love her whimsical, colorful necklaces and earrings. These are statement pieces that can be worn again and again. I was wearing one of her Dragonfly necklaces like the one pictured above on the night that Nate proposed to me. So obviously I will keep it forever. 

Here is her Etsy page.

Also check out her amazing blog!

Christie Silverstein
Integrative Health and Lifestyle Coach

If my dear friend Christie was not in my life then I never would have met my husband, Nate. So, she's already golden in my book. Add that fact to an amazing, warm personality and a love for people and she is pretty much set in the good karma department. She has such an amazing talent for connecting with people, which is perfect for the line of work she is in. Not only will she help you organize and declutter your life, but she will make sure you are making the most of your body by eating well and engaging in a pure lifestyle.

Find her at her website


After a week in the shop and a vacation's worth of money spent on repairs, I finally have my beloved 4 Runner back. And to celebrate that joyous homecoming, I watched as the odometer flipped to 200,000 miles.

A few years ago, Michael and I were looking to upgrade my old blue 4 Runner. After he died, I bought this one for myself, so I suppose it holds some sentimental value to me. It has taken me to the shores of California, through the crowded streets of New York City, down to the beaches of Florida, home to the ones I love in North Carolina, up near Chicago to meet Nate's family for the first time, and many, many places in between.

It has carried microphones, guitars and musicians to gigs all around the country and it has transported clothing racks and store fixtures for my first boutique. Through my rearview mirror, I've watched Maddux grow from a wrinkly newborn into a rambunctious toddler.

My mechanic says it's got a few more good years. I hope he's right.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Anatomy of a Christmas Photo

As any of you with toddlers know, it is nearly impossible to take a decent photo. Maddux may be sitting perfectly still, doing the sweetest, most angelic little thing, but the laws of parenthood state that the moment a camera is taken out and focused on him, he turns into the Tasmanian Devil.

So, as I am a bit of a slave to tradition, I just had to attempt to take our yearly family Christmas photo. I'm sad to say that these are not all entirely Maddux's fault.

Here are the results:

                                               Checking the lighting......

And the tripod positioning. Oh hello there, Jackson Dog.

This could take awhile........

                                        At least he's looking at the camera.

Oops! There goes my top. Thanks Nate!

Almost there.....

                                            As good as it's going to get.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Crave: Loeffler Randall Messenger Bag

                             I wish I had told Santa that I wanted this.